The parks are full of beautiful spring flowers and I can't get enough of the colours when we are out. With spring comes allergies though and three of us suffer with hayfever at this time of year. I struggle with itchy eyes and itchy ears and often can't take anthistamines whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. This year I have some Earex products at hand to try and keep my ears healthy and itch free and I have some tips from Earex Ear Care Expert, Dr Henderson to share on ear health;Read more ⇨
1. Try to keep your ears dry
‘Swimmer’s ear’ - more correctly called otitis externa - is a condition that affects more than 1% of the UK population every year. It is given this nickname because it can be caused by water getting into the ear canal – the tube between the outer ear and the eardrum – and so is more common in swimmers. Other causes include infection and allergic reactions but it can also occur for no obvious reason. Although any one of any age can get it, women appear to suffer slightly more than men. As well as swimming, other factors triggering it include excessive ear cleaning or overuse of ear piece headphones, as can pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, acne or psoriasis. The general advice is to always avoid getting the affected ear wet, and resist the temptation to use cotton wool buds inside the ear or pushing a towel into them. You may also be prescribed anti-inflammatory or antibiotic eardrops by your doctor
2. Limit your exposure to loud noise
Music and machinery can expose us to over the safe noise limit – 85 decibels (dB) for long periods. MP3 players in Europe have a default limit of 85 dB. As a general rule of thumb, if other people can hear your headphone music then it’s too loud! (Remember that the earbuds on MP3 players funnel the sound waves directly into the ear.) Long-term exposure to high volume levels can gradually wear out the tiny hair cells of the inner ear that convert sound into nerve signals that go to the brain. Take breaks if you must listen to music through earbuds, and try out noisereducing headphones. Don’t fall asleep with earbuds in and make sure your devices are set at 60 decibels or lower - the level of normal conversation.
3. Try to avoid flying when you have a cold
‘Aeroplane ear’ is the term given to pain in the ears that occurs during take-off and landing and is due to unequal air pressure inside the ear in comparison to the atmosphere outside, due to blockage of the Eustachian tube and can be very painful. Not equalizing pressure in the ears on planes is called barotitis and is usually more of a problem when landing than taking off. Try to chew, yawn or swallow as this helps to equalize pressure when landing and if you have to fly when you have a head cold try taking an oral decongestant before flying. Don't let your child remain asleep during landings, and don’t worry too much if they have mild ear discomfort when landing as this is due to the pressure equalizing.
4. Use eardrops to dissolve impacted wax
Ear wax is important for ear health as it helps to protect the lining of the ears. After it is produced, it slowly makes its way to the opening of the ear where it either falls out or is removed when you wash. However, too much wax can sometimes build up, causing mild hearing loss, known as conductive deafness, as sounds can’t pass freely through the ear canal because of a blockage. Olive oil is often recommended, and although it’s not as effective as some other drops it can soften wax prior to the ears being syringed. Earex drops can be very effective here too. There's an old saying – ‘Never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear’ and it’s true! You can easily hurt your ear by poking around in them, even with cotton buds as these can push wax deeper in your ear or even irritate the ear canal causing an infection. Never put anything sharp in your ear because it can cause bleeding or serious damage.
5. Remember that the weather and allergies can affect your ears.
Millions of people suffer from allergies, often at their peak in spring and autumn. This usually presents as hay fever type symptoms, but household dust and pet dander are also triggers here and allergies can affect your ears as well as your eyes, nose and throat. The most common symptoms affecting ears are itching, fullness, difficulty hearing and earaches. These can often be treated by over-the-counter allergy medicines, such as antihistamines and decongestants but itching can also be eased by using ear drops. An allergic reaction can sometimes lead to a temporary loss of hearing too due to the middle ear becoming inflamed but this usually goes away when the allergy is treated. In colder weather, our ears become vulnerable to the cold because they have no protective fat tissue and so cool down quickly. There is only a thin layer of skin protecting the nerves in the ear canal, and cooler weather (along with wind) may cause discomfort in your ear canal. Covering your ears when you’re outside for longer periods of time will help keep them warm and healthy.
Earex products are suitable for children over 5 years old and adults, and for children between 1 and 5 on medical advice. We will definitely be using them for Dylan as he has struggled with ear infections in the past. You can find Earex products in your local supermarket or chemist or direct from Earex.co.uk.